Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Chinese Martial Arts

(photo) Demonstrating Kung Fu at Daxiangguo Monestary, Kaifeng, Henan. Taken by Ariel Steiner. - Wikipedia Commons

Kung Fu
is the prevailing term when referring to Chinese martial arts. Funny enough, the term Kung Fu (功夫 • gong1fu1) actually refers to an individual's accomplishments or acquired skill, which could be in the field of martial arts, cooking, dancing, or what have you. Gong1 (功) means "contribution; achievement" and Fu1 (
夫) means "work".
Another term that has become very popular lately, I imagine thanks to the proliferation of Chinese actors and actresses in the hollywood scene, is Wushu (武術 • Wu3shu4). This term is more precise and it does refer to martial activities: Wu3 (武 ) means "martial or military" and Shu4 (術) referst to " method or technique".

Other martial related terms are:

武打 • wu3da3 • Traditional Chinese schools of martial arts
武德 • wu3de2 • Martial Morality
武打片 • wu3da3pian4 • Martial arts movie
武功 • wu3gong1 • martial arts skill
武俠 • wu3xia2 • Chivalry
武俠小說 • wu3xia2xiao3shuo1• Martial arts novel

*Traditional martial arts deal with the study of martial arts not just as a means of self-defense or mental training, but also as a system of ethics. Wu3de2 (武德) can be translated as "martial morality" and is constructed from two Chinese characters, "wu3" (武) which means martial and "de2" (德) which means virtue or righteousness. Wu3de2 (武德) deals with two aspects; "morality of deed" and "morality of mind". The ultimate goal is reaching no extremity or limit (Wu2ji2, 無極) - wu2 • without; ji2 • extreme - where both wisdom and emotions are in harmony with each other.

• Concepts referring to Morality of deed:

  • Humility (謙虛 qian1xu1)
  • Loyalty (忠誠 zhong1cheng2)
  • Respect (尊敬 zun1jing4)
  • Righteousness (正義 zheng4yi4)
  • Trust (信賴 xin4lai4)
• Concepts referring to Morality of mind:
  • Courage ( 勇氣 yong3qi4)
  • Endurance (忍耐 ren3nai4)
  • Patience (耐心 nai4xin1)
  • Perseverance (毅力 yi4li4)
  • Will (意志 yi4zhi4)
My favorite Chinese Martial Artists:
Credit: International action-movie star and Hong Kong native Jackie Chan enjoys his experiences on the flight deck during a tour of the Kitty Hawk. USS Kitty Hawk's current mission is to provide a forward presence in the Asia/Pacific region, conduct training and exercises with regional allies, and, as America’s “9-1-1” Battle Group, remain available to respond to emergent national taskings wherever and whenever needed. (Image 021202-N-0271M-011)
U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Lee M. McCaskill - Wikipedia Commons

Jackie Chan (B. 1954, 成龍 • cheng2long2) - Hong Kong martial artist and actor widely known for introducing physical comedy into his martial arts performances, and for actually doing most of the stunts in his films. One of my favorite Jackie Chan's film is "Who am I". I don't ever remember laughing so hard!

Bruce Lee 李振藩 • His real name was li3 zhen4fan1 although if you look him up in a Chinese dictionary you'll probably find
李小龍 • li3xiao3long2 for his stage name. He was and still is my brother's idol! He is considered an important icon in the 20th century.

And last but least,
Jet Li (B. 1963, 李連杰 • li3 lian2jie2) A five-time sport wu3shu4 champion of China, also an accomplished movie actor. You just have to love him in "Hero" and "Fearless".

* Reference: Wikipedia


Marjean said...

People should read this.

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